A jolt runs through Octavia's gut and chest. She is used to many eyes on her, but they never made her comfortable, though she never showed it. Her nerves are harder to hide this time with no bodyguards to buffer the eyes staring her down. She can see the way all these eyes look at her. Some, many from chromies, are full of sneers and laughs. Most of the hostages' eyes are rounded, full of surprise and exasperation from Octavia being Octavia, and Octavia being Octavia with drastically different, unacceptable hair.
At least Shard did not check her.
Octavia gives Shard her most disdainful look yet.
"Was the introduction necessary?"
Though her growly voice was at a whisper, it carried across the quiet courtyard.
"Of course, Darling!" His voice nauseatingly echoes in the Courtyard. "Now strut your stuff. Show off your new stylist's - moi," Shard twirls his hand and points it at himself, "work to your friends. Have fun and be pretty." He pushes her forward. "Ta-tah! See you at lunch my dear."
He slips back into the building. The door slams shut behind him. The Courtyard's silence is broken by Mindy.
As Mindy makes her way to Octavia, she shoots enough deathly glares at spectators to get them to mind their own business. The Courtyard fills with quiet buzzes of conversation and stolen glances at Octavia.
Mindy throws her arms around Octavia. Octavia gives her a few pats on the shoulder.
"Octi," Mindy says sadly, "what happened to your hair?"
Mindy touches and tosses some tufts of Octavia's hair.
"Shard," Octavia says flatly. "And be careful with it. He's protective over it, and I don't want to face the consequences if it gets messed up."
Mindy stops messing with her hair.
"Poor thing. Are you holding out okay? Other than your hair, he hasn't done anything to you, has he?"
"He hasn't done anything yet. But not from lack of trying. I've managed to convince him so far not to do anything, but I can tell he's playing games. I just don't know what yet. I feel like it's only a matter of time until he's done playing."
Octavia holds her arms and shakes her head.
"How about you?" she asks Mindy. "They haven't hurt you have they?"
"No. They leave me alone. They gave me an old paper book, like one of those you see in movies, to read and hardly ever speak to me except to give me food and these musty clothes."
Mindy gestures to the long, dark green shirt and brown leggings she wears.
"That sounds less irritating," Octavia says. "I'd rather be left alone. But Shard is constantly in my cell talking to me and harassing me with stupid practical jokes."
Mindy lowers her voice.
"What does he talk to you about?"
Octavia matches her voice level.
"Nothing important or that can get us out of here. But..." Octavia pauses. "There's something wrong with him."
"We all know that."
"That's not what I mean. We know he's a tyrannical, homicidal maniac, but I mean there's something else wrong. Something really off."
"What do you mean?"
"It's...Something he said on the way here..."
Octavia thinks on how to describe what she heard and saw in the halls with Shard. Through his delirium, she saw someone who was hurt and, maybe, damaged. Seeing Shard like this almost made him look human. She tells Mindy this.
YOU ARE READING
Being the daughter of the most powerful people in the country places a high societal value on Octavia. The glamour of this public-placed status wore off for her years ago as tragedy after tragedy has followed Octavia because of it. But the glamour n...